Gripping the wide pencil with fumbling, uncoordinated fingers, the little boy’s eyebrow was smooshed in concentration. He was writing a letter of great importance, one that needed to be better than all the notes he had written in his school classroom that year.
This letter couldn’t miss a crossed T, couldn’t have a backward N, or have a word out of place, because this letter would be addressed to the most magical person the little boy knew: Santa Claus.
“How is Blitzen this year? You know he is my favorite,” he inquired. “I hope you still like cookies because we made some for you,” he added, “But if you can’t eat them all, don’t worry, I’ll help. Mom says I have a sweet tooth.”
Finally, the little boy finished his letter and carefully folded it in half, adding To: Santa on the outside. He carried it over to the grand fireplace in the middle of his family’s living room, where he stood picturing Santa’s broad shoulders and big belly pulling a sleigh full of toys and a parade of reindeer out from under the fireplace’s wide hearth.
He tucked the envelope behind a plate of tree-shaped sugar cookies, under a glass of milk, and next to a basket of oranges. Not everyone knew this, but Santa’s reindeer love oranges. Especially Blitzen.
When his mom pulled up the covers over the little boy’s shoulders that night, he was shaking with the excitement of the morning to come. Santa was coming. To his house. Through his fireplace.
As soon as the first beam of morning light hit the boy’s face, he jolted awake, leaping out of bed and down the stairs, taking two at a time. Sliding around the corner with his fuzzy socks on the wood floor, he ran into the living room. Below the decorated tree were small piles of red and green packages with big bows and shiny ribbons.
But more importantly, was the plate of missing cookies and the orange peels scattered around the mouth of the fireplace. “Mom!” he squealed, “Santa and the reindeer were in OUR house!”
Next to the downed glass of milk, the boy saw his letter. In long, loopy script, the To: Santa was accompanied by To: Reid.
In the margins of the boy’s words, were Santa’s replies. “Blitzen loved the oranges. I gave him an extra one for you.” and, “Thanks for the cookies, I’ve been told I have a sweet tooth, too. Which means we need to brush our teeth extra well.”
Clutching the letter to his chest, the little boy wept with joy. It was the most magical morning of his life.
Over the next year, the little boy’s family went through some changes. His parents split up, and the family moved out of the house with the big fireplace into a smaller home with a heating vent.
As Christmas approached, the little boy couldn’t shake his sadness. Without a fireplace, Santa and the reindeer couldn’t possibly get inside. Because they had moved, Santa wouldn’t be able to reply to his letter. Blinking back tears, he thought about how he would have traded all the presents under his tree for one more loopy, elegant reply from Mr. Claus.
His mom looked at the boy’s sunken face with pangs of guilt at the bits of Christmas magic of which the last year had robbed them. But, mustering the biggest smile she could, the boy’s mom encouraged him to leave a letter and some oranges for the reindeer next to the heating vent anyway, because Santa’s magic always finds a way.
Mom says you are magic. I believe her. I hope you find me. Not because of the presents, but because Blitzen loves oranges and I like hearing from you. Fly safe Santa.
Drifting off to sleep that night, the boy’s head was filled with doubt and worry. Would Santa make it? Would he take one look at the chimney-less roof and fly away? Would Blitzen go hungry without his oranges?
The worry was still squirming in his stomach that Christmas morning. As he rounded the corner of his small bedroom, he crept over to the decorated heating vent. And his heart leapt.
Next to the little pile of wrapped boxes were orange peels! The rinds were tucked into the shag carpet in a path leading out the front door.
“Mom! They made it! They FOUND us!” the boy exclaimed.
He eagerly unfolded his letter.
Your Mom is right, Christmastime is magic. But not because of the presents under the tree or even the oranges Blitzen gobbled. Christmastime is magic because of the people that love you. Your family is a gift, and no matter where you live, when you’re with family, Christmas will find a way.
As the years passed by, the little boy turned into a man, but he never forgot his letters to Santa. Over time, he grew to appreciate the Christmas with the heating vent above all of his other Christmases, as he knew how hard his mom worked to make it special for him in the midst of her own grief.
So, when it came time for him to give a gift to his mom, he wanted to thank her properly. He found pictures of his old letters to Santa and printed their script across a living room throw pillow.
As she pulled off the wrapping on the pillow, she uncovered the elegant script reading,
“Christmastime is magic because of the people that love you. Your family is a gift, and no matter where you live, when you’re with family, Christmas will find a way.”
Clutching the gifted pillow, her eyes filled with tears.
“Thank you, Reid,” she smiled.
“Merry Christmas, Mom.” he replied.
Behind every photo is a story – a memory worth sharing. The holiday season is about cherishing the memories that shape us and make us who we are. And that’s why giving a thoughtful gift is the best way to express love, gratitude, and the Christmas spirit this season.
Visit our site for holiday gift ideas that will warm the hearts of you and your loved ones this Christmas.
And leave out a few extra orange slices for Blitzen, would ya?
Happiest of Holidays,
The Good Prints Team